Meditating did not come easy to me, to say the least. When I decided to begin meditation some 25 years ago, I was so sure that I was going to achieve a zen like state in a few days. I mean, how hard could it be? I knew how to sleep very well, meditation couldn’t be much different than closing your eyes and relaxing. In fact, sleeping was what I was doing on a pretty regular basis back then. I was asleep even when I was awake! I didn’t realize how much of my life I had been missing out on by being in an unconscious state for most of my young life. But, I was determined to change from a zombie into a new age thinker by going deep into my subconscious through this miraculous thing called meditation. I had no idea it was going to take me so long to finally understand what meditation was all about, or that I wasn’t doing it wrong!
I discovered meditation in my early 20’s, however I quickly dismissed it time and again for fear I wasn’t doing it right. It didn’t seem to be working as well as I had read it should, so I put it on the back shelf each time I believed I failed at it. But, what I didn’t know was, it didn’t matter if it was perfect, or that I only achieved a minute or two of silence. It only mattered that I had quieted my mind enough to allow my inner voice to speak to me. The only important part of my perceived failure, was that I was unknowingly practicing to be in the space where magic happens. Back then, my self criticism was out of control, and anytime I tried something new, I would immediately dismiss any progress I made as not good enough. “One or two minutes will never propel me into enlightenment,” the critical voice would chant. If only I had known that enlightenment was already within!
So, I persisted with the practice of meditation, read a million books and articles on the elusive trance-like state I was trying so desperately to achieve, and continued to berate my method. And then, one day after several years of fumbling around and worrying about the effectiveness of my practice, I heard a voice as clear as if it was coming from a loud speaker in my ceiling. It scared me a little! I had been practicing listening to my inner voice for quite some time, and when I heard it shout at me, I was confused. I always thought that your inner voice was soft, and comforting, like a hug from your mom. Not this time! And, although the voice was loud, the message was soft and kind. The words were loving. I felt as though I had opened up a secret door in my subconscious, and all the trapped, loving, supportive words were spewing forth after years of being hidden by all the self-loathing talk I had forced on myself. This was a major breakthrough for me. I suddenly thought that maybe I was meditating the right way all along and I just needed to relax, let go of the results, and allow the process to unfold in the right time. I realized that all the years I had been working on lightening up and letting go, was leading me to this wonderful moment. My meditation practice was perfect for me!
From that moment on, I decided to continue meditating anyway I wanted. I change it up all the time now. There really is no “right” way to meditate for everyone. It’s all perception. It took me several years to understand that meditation can take many forms. When you find the right way for you, it changes your life. I now meditate several times a day, sometimes it may be for only a minute. When I have more time in my day, I might meditate for twenty minutes or longer. Sometimes I fall asleep when I’m in a deep trance, but instead of condemning myself for not staying awake, I am grateful to be calm enough to rest because I must have needed it. Finding your “right” way may take time, or you may discover it quickly, but however and whenever meditation graces your life, bask in it. Accept whatever practice you are currently working on without criticizing your method. It’s all leading you to serenity. Blessings to you and happy meditating!